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Steven Wright shows off impressive knuckleball for Red Sox in 7-1 win over Royals

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KANSAS CITY, Missouri — Steven Wright got another chance to showcase his knuckleball. The results were impressive.

Wright pitched three scoreless innings of relief in the Boston Red Sox's 7-1 loss to the Kansas City Royals on Saturday night.

Wright, a September call up from Triple-A Pawtucket, replaced starter Rubby De La Rosa in the fifth inning with the Red Sox trailing 5-1 and baffled the Royals with his knuckler.

"I think the biggest thing I've been able to do the last couple of outings is throw strikes with it," Wright said. "If I throw strikes, it's going to make them have to swing. Hopefully they miss-hit it."

Wright is able to vary the knuckleball three different ways.

"It's huge," he said. "They know I'm going to throw it. If I can add and subtract from it, it keeps them off-balance, so they don't time it."

Wright yielded two singles in the seventh and threw a wild pitch, but struck out Nori Aoki and Jarrod Dyson to get out of the inning unscathed.

Jeremy Guthrie retired the final 17 batters he faced and Omar Infante had three hits and drove in two runs in the Royals' victory.

Manager Ned Yost overhauled his batting order and got immediate results. The Royals scored seven runs for the first time since Aug. 19, a span of 22 games.

Aoki, batting second for the first time this season, and Gordon, who snapped an 0-for-22 skid, each had two hits, scored a run and drove in a run.

Infante, who usually bats second, was dropped to seventh and responded with three singles, including an eighth inning single that scored Lorenzo Cain. He also drove in a run in the third with a fielder's choice.

PHOTO: Kansas City Royals' Alcides Escobar (2) beats the tag at home by Boston Red Sox catcher Christian Vazquez as he scored on a single by Norichika Aoki, from Japan, during the first inning of a baseball game Saturday, Sept. 13, 2014, in Kansas City, Mo. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)
Kansas City Royals' Alcides Escobar (2) beats the tag at home by Boston Red Sox catcher Christian Vazquez as he scored on a single by Norichika Aoki, from Japan, during the first inning of a baseball game Saturday, Sept. 13, 2014, in Kansas City, Mo. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

Guthrie (11-11), who was roughed up for eight runs on 10 hits in 2 2-3 innings in a loss Monday at Detroit, allowed three hits and one unearned run in eight innings.

After David Ortiz's single in the third, Guthrie did not allow a base runner.

Rubby De La Rosa (4-7) was pulled after four innings and 65 pitches, permitting five runs on six hits. He balked home Salvador Perez, who had an RBI double in the three-run third.

SKID ENDS

Allen Craig delivered a pinch-hit single in the ninth to snap an 0-for-13 skid. It was his first successful pinch hit June 20, 2013, for St. Louis.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Red Sox: INF Brock Holt remains sidelined with a concussion and there is no timetable for his return. He is still having vison problems.

Royals: LHP Danny Duffy, who skipped a start Thursday with a sore shoulder, is scheduled for a mound session Sunday. He is optimistic he will make his start Tuesday against Chicago. . DH Josh Willingham remains out with a groin injury.

UP NEXT

Red Sox: RHP Joe Kelly will make his eighth start since being acquired in a July 31 trade with St. Louis.

He last faced the Royals on June 22, 2012.

Royals: LHP Jason Vargas will start the series finale. He is 6-4 with a 3.98 ERA at home this season.

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